Archive for 18th August 2009

My experience with ExtJS

So more than a year ago I wrote about my new project – starting a re-write of our main application using ExtJS, AJAX and web services.

The project actually progressed very well (albeit I was the only developer on it, but that’s even more fun!). I have a proof of concept application, window and class framework to build on, a set of business classes and complete database schema for a good Point-of-Sale application. I have proved that a RAD environment can be set up and extended using the technologies I picked.

The modules I have created are:

  • Customer and item entry and search (with cool use of LiveGrid extension to view entire inventory or customer base)
  • Order search, creation, modification and saving
  • Sidebar for most important features
  • Theme changing (hey, it has to look cool)
  • Login and security system (using membership and roles on the server)

So far that’s all, I have actually stopped about 14 months ago, and started working on brand new project (more on that later).

I still think ExtJS is a very good framework, especially if you want to design a true AJAX app (not just spice up your old one). With all the FUD that was created by license switch, it’s hard to see the forest through all the trees. Yes, license changed, yes it was done poorly. But face it – it doesn’t make ExtJS any less cool as a technology, and it is worth the money they are asking (in my opinion anyways).

Word 2007 as blogging software

Microsoft Live Writer, cool software. An oddity of sorts for Microsoft – something that works well in v1. And works with multiple blog providers. And looks nice while doing that (with theme download and a bunch of addons).

But I can’t use it. I have a 130dpi monitor (one of those 1920×1200 17″ laptops – calculate your dpi here ), and of course everything is tiny by default. Windows 7 and all apps I use do a very good job scaling their UI, finally. Well, maybe it was the same with Vista, but I didn’t have high dpi. With NoSquint for Firefox (IE8 zooms in by default, based on Windows scale settings – nice touch) and all fonts in Visual Studio adjusted I really can’t tell difference between normal 80-90dpi and my 133dpi – it just looks much better (more pixels + ClearType). In some other software I use I also had to adjust font sizes (Trillian Astra, Skype, Outlook). Can’t adjust anything in Writer – I tried everything, even found where it downloaded my blog’s theme and tried changing size there – doesn’t work, well no obvious place to change it anyways.

So today I finally decided to write something in my blog *crickets*, and trying Word 2007 now. Setup wasn’t without a problem, as Word doesn’t include the nice auto-configuration setup of Writer. For those interested, /yourmtfolder/mt-xmlrpc.cgi is the path to the MetaWebLogApi script of MovableType. Couldn’t make Atom work for some reason, although apparently there is mt-atom.cgi.

As a UI, Word is definitely a step back from Writer – no themes, no addons, categories/tags don’t download. But you know what, I don’t that much care – I have good size font to write in, and that’s all I need. Will see how it handles pictures and VS formatting next.